Like most pregnant women, it was important to Clary Luecke to have a birth plan that she felt comfortable with. Expecting her second baby, Clary hoped to have an unmedicated delivery in a birth center near her home in Wentzville, Missouri.
As Clary re-established care at the birthing facility, where she had given birth to her first child, she felt that her concerns were not being listened to. The physician at the facility diagnosed Clary with chronic hypertension and told her she would have to be induced at 37 weeks. Going for an unmedicated birth and knowing her body, Clary felt this diagnosis was off. Advocating for herself, Clary began checking her blood pressure at home and found that the only time her blood pressure elevated was at the physician’s office. The consistent pattern of her blood pressure led Clary to believe she had White Coat Syndrome, the term used for when you get a high blood pressure reading in the doctor’s office and a normal reading at home. She addressed this with her physician and still was told she would only be allowed an induction at 37 weeks instead of the natural, unmedicated birth she wanted.
Frustrated with the birthing center, Clary set out to find a physician who would listen to her concerns somewhere in the St. Louis, Missouri area. She toured a few different facilities, but was immediately told she would have to be induced at 37 weeks. She felt like she was being forced to have an unnecessary induction and that her voice was not being heard.
Feeling defeated, Clary confided in her mother. Clary’s mother, Diane Bibb, is the Director of the Chris Coons Women’s Care Center at Hannibal Regional. Diane suggested that Clary see a Hannibal Regional physician for another opinion.
Clary made the hour-and-a-half trip to Hannibal Regional and met with Dr. Julie Viehmann, OB/GYN. “At the very first appointment I had with Dr. Viehmann, she sat down with me and reviewed all of my medical history. She took the time to listen and came up with a plan to log my blood pressure. I felt comfortable with her and knew Hannibal Regional was where I needed to be,” says Clary.
Although she was roughly halfway through her pregnancy, Clary became an established patient with Dr. Viehmann and planned to deliver at Hannibal Regional. Dr. Viehmann shares, “Patients often transfer their care to Hannibal Regional at various stages of their pregnancy. This can be related to a family move, employment change, or just changing their mind and deciding to switch physicians. If a patient transfers care in the middle of the pregnancy I will review documentation from their previous physician. I also try to spend the next few appointments catching up on general face-to-face interaction that would have taken place in the first couple months of care. Also, I encourage my patients to tour the Chris Coons Women’s Care Center to feel more comfortable about where their delivery is to take place.”
With a clear bill of health, Clary went into labor naturally just one day before her due date. She made the trip along with her husband to Hannibal Regional Hospital and gave birth to her son on February 22nd. Clary shares, “The nursing staff was amazing. I received great one-on-one care. It was a more comfortable environment to be in than my previous birth experience. There were not as many people rushing in and out of the room and everyone seemed very calm. Medication was not pushed on me and the nurses helped me every step of the way.”
Dr. Julie Viehmann shares, “The Chris Coons Women’s Care Center has nurses who are highly trained in taking care of medicated and unmedicated deliveries. Our nurses do not push medications or epidurals onto the laboring patients. It is our job to let patients know their options for pain medications and it is up to the patient to make an informed decision whether to use those options or not. The Chris Coons Women’s Care Center has a labor tub, which provides hydrotherapy to relax the body and provide some pain relief for patients. We are currently installing a larger low-intervention delivery room on our unit that has more space for patients to move throughout their labor and a larger labor tub.”
Clary shares, “When leaving the hospital with our newborn, my husband and I looked at each other and said we would not want to go anywhere other than Hannibal Regional for future births. The birth experience we had at Hannibal Regional was everything we hoped for and more. We learned that care in a big city does not mean better. The hometown feeling of Hannibal Regional matched with the expert compassionate care we received, made all the difference.”
No matter where an expectant mother is in her journey, Hannibal Regional’s patient-centered approach tailors each delivery to the individualized needs of the patient, including aftercare, support for breastfeeding and follow-ups. To schedule an appointment with a Women’s Health physicians call (573) 629-3500.